Daily Archives: September 2, 2008

Keith Knight: The Anglican Church is going through a reformation

THE ANGLICAN COMMUNION is alive and vibrant.

It has survived another Lambeth Conference, a bit bruised, battered and fragmented. Bishops at Canterbury rallied around pertinent issues of social justice, poverty and the environment, and they reached the only conclusion they could on human sexuality: compromise.

That is what happens within a healthy family: members listen to each other, give a little, take a little, and reach a compromise. The result: both poles in the human sexuality debate are left frustrated and eager to battle another day, but it is the “middle road” ”“ via media — that has won the day.

The Anglican Communion emerged ”“ as it always does after a Lambeth Conference — a church struggling to be faithful to scripture and relevant to today’s society. Theologians and church leaders will debate the importance of Lambeth 2008 for some time to come; a sort of ecclesiastical navel-gazing. This issue of The Journal is dedicating an entire supplement to Lambeth.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Commentary, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Lambeth 2008

The Latest Track for Tropical Storm Hanna


Posted in * General Interest, Weather

David Brooks: What the Palin Pick Says

When McCain met Sarah Palin last February, he was meeting the rarest of creatures, an American politician who sees the world as he does. Like McCain, Palin does not seem to have an explicit governing philosophy. Her background is socially conservative, but she has not pushed that as governor of Alaska. She seems to find it easier to work with liberal Democrats than the mandarins in her own party.

Instead, she seems to get up in the morning to root out corruption. McCain was meeting a woman who risked her career taking on the corrupt Republican establishment in her own state, who twice defeated the oil companies, who made mortal enemies of the two people McCain has always held up as the carriers of the pork-barrel disease: Young and Stevens.

Many people are conditioned by their life experiences to see this choice of a running mate through the prism of identity politics, but that’s the wrong frame. Sarah Barracuda was picked because she lit up every pattern in McCain’s brain, because she seems so much like himself.

The Palin pick allows McCain to run the way he wants to ”” not as the old goat running against the fresh upstart, but as the crusader for virtue against the forces of selfishness. It allows him to make cleaning out the Augean stables of Washington the major issue of his campaign.

Read the whole piece.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, US Presidential Election 2008

Dr Jeffrey John could become a bishop in Wales

Members of the Church in Wales may be anxious not to exacerbate existing tensions over the issue. A senior source close to the election told The Times: “One member of the college is going to put Jeffrey John’s name forward. It will be a very close thing.”

Another Church in Wales insider said: “He has a good pastoral record. He might well be considered.”

The Rev Giles Fraser, Vicar of St Mary’s Putney, a friend of Dr John and founder of the Inclusive Church lobby that champions the gay cause, said: “Jeffrey John would make an absolutely splendid bishop. This is not before time. This is a man who does not contravene the guidelines on human sexuality at all.”

But in a joint statement, Canon Chris Sugden and Philip Giddings, of Anglican Mainstream, the conservative lobby set up in response to Dr John’s appointment to Reading, said: “If he is being nominated to a Welsh episcopate, the obstacles remain the same as to his previous candidacies for senior appointments.”

Read it all.

Update: Peter Ould has important thoughts on this here.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Latest News, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Church of Wales, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

Pope Benedict XVI: On the Reality of Evil

If to save us the Son of God had to suffer and die crucified, it certainly was not because of a cruel design of the heavenly Father. The cause of it is the gravity of the sickness of which he must cure us: an evil so serious and deadly that it will require all of his blood. In fact, it is with his death and resurrection that Jesus defeated sin and death, reestablishing the lordship of God.

But the battle is not over: Evil exists and resists in every generation, even in our own. What are the horrors of war, violence visited on the innocent, the misery and injustice that persecutes the weak, if not the opposition of evil to the Kingdom of God? And how does one respond to such evil if not with the unarmed love that defeats hatred, life that does not fear death? This is the mysterious power that Jesus used at the cost of not being understood and of being abandoned by many of his followers.

Dear brothers and sisters, to complete the work of salvation, the Redeemer continues to draw to himself and his mission men and women who are ready to take up the cross and follow him. Just as with Christ, it is not “optional” for Christians to take up the cross; it is rather a mission to be embraced out of love.

Read it all.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

Preachers of separatism at work inside Britain's mosques

In a large balcony above the beautiful main hall at Regent’s Park Mosque in London – widely considered the most important mosque in Britain – I am filming undercover as the woman preacher gives her talk.

What should be done to a Muslim who converts to another faith? “We kill him,” she says, “kill him, kill, kill”¦You have to kill him, you understand?”

Adulterers, she says, are to be stoned to death – and as for homosexuals, and women who “make themselves like a man, a woman like a man … the punishment is kill, kill them, throw them from the highest place”.

These punishments, the preacher says, are to be implemented in a future Islamic state. “This is not to tell you to start killing people,” she continues. “There must be a Muslim leader, when the Muslim army becomes stronger, when Islam has grown enough.”

A young female student from the group interrupts her: the punishment should also be to stone the homosexuals to death, once they have been thrown from a high place.

These are teachings I never expected to hear inside Regent’s Park Mosque, which is supposedly committed to interfaith dialogue and moderation, and was set up more than 60 years ago, to represent British Muslims to the Government.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, England / UK, Islam, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

Society ”˜perverse’ to sideline fathers, says Bishop

An English Bishop has labelled as “perverse” the encouragement in today’s society of families without fathers.

The condemnation comes from the Rt Rev James Newcome, Bishop of Penrith, who is the father of four children — two sons and two daughters, aged 24 to 17. The 55-year-old suffragan to the Bishop of Carlisle delivers the verdict in the September issue of the Carlisle diocesan news.

In an opinion piece headed Are Fathers Necessary? he declares: “Fathers are there to provide consoling hugs. They are there to provide a role-model for their sons and an example of unconditional love for their daughters. “They are there to do the most important thing they can for their children which is… to love their mother. It is no accident that nature requires a man as well as a woman to provide a child. Children need a father as well as a mother. That is how it has always been.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture

Google browser challenges Microsoft

The browser war is back on.

This time, Microsoft’s opponent is Google, a familiar foe.

On Tuesday, Google will release a free Web browser called Chrome that the company said would challenge Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, as well as the Firefox browser.

In a curious twist, Google made its online announcement after its plans appeared as a digital “comic book” that was posted by Google Blogoscoped.com, a Web site that tracks the Internet search giant. Google said it had accidentally sent the comic book to the blog.

The browser is a universal doorway to the Internet, and the use of Internet software and services is rapidly growing. Increasingly, the browser is the gateway to the Web on cellphones and other mobile devices, widening the utility of the Web and Web advertising. Google, analysts say, cannot let Microsoft’s dominant share of the browser market go without a direct challenge.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Blogging & the Internet, Economy

Cathedral turns to wine bars to woo new business

The first “director of hospitality and welcome” at an English cathedral has unveiled far-reaching plans to make its operations more business-like.

Mark Hope-Urwin, a former executive with the John Lewis deparment stores chain, has been recruited by Birmingham Cathedral to oversee a radical change to its image and branding.

His plans, revealed today, include a chain of city-centre wine bars and “loyalty cards” for regular worshippers to obtain discounts at the cathedral’s shops.

The new appraoch to attracting and retaining worshippers could become a blueprint for dioceses across the country.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

Hurricane Hanna 'meandering' toward Carolinas

Hanna’s path early Tuesday appeared to be a “meandering” loop across the Turks and Caicos Islands, but atmospheric changes over the western Atlantic are expected to steer the storm northwestward over the next two or three days, according to forecasters.

As of 2 a.m., Hanna was a Category 1 storm on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale with 80 mph top winds.

While the hurricane center forecasters said “only modest changes in intensity are anticipated” over the next day or two, Hanna is expected to gain strength before landfall.

Hanna’s line of fire could include the U.S. Atlantic coast from Miami to Massachusetts, according to the hurricane center’s long-range forecast map. Charleston, South Carolina appears in the middle of this “cone of uncertainty,” with Hanna potentially making landfall there Friday.

Read it all.

Posted in * General Interest, Weather

'Family' embrace for Bishop Victoria Matthews

(ACNS) When last Saturday afternoon’s installation service for Bishop Victoria Matthews as the eighth Bishop of Christchurch was finished, the woman who’s taken her place as the new Bishop of Edmonton reflected on Canada’s loss and Christchurch’s gain.

Bishop Jane Alexander spoke soflty of a loss that feels personal, as well as provincial: “It was very hard,” she said, “to give Victoria away.

“But I will leave here with my heart lightened. So many have told me that they will love her and take care of her.

“The installation service was beautiful. There was such a strong sense of family. So much welcome. Victoria is not coming home: she is home.”

While none but the three Canadian bishops present could truly know about the loss Bishop Jane spoke of, there were close on 1000 people ”“ it was a full house at the Cathedral on a sunny, still, late winter’s afternoon ”“ who saw signs, right from the start of the service, of where their gains might lie.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces

Quincy diocese 'likely' to leave Episcopal Church

The Standing Committee of the Diocese of Quincy has sent a 35-page report to all members of the diocese, responding to questions and concerns over plans for the diocese to quit the Episcopal Church.

On Nov 7-8 the Quincy synod will have the second reading of a constitutional amendment that would permit the diocese to withdraw from the Episcopal Church and affiliate with another province of the Anglican Communion. While no formal resolution so far has been submitted to the synod that would seek formal separation, the president of the standing committee, the Rev James Marshall told The Living Church magazine such a move was likely.

Quincy joins the American diocese of Fort Worth and Pittsburgh in scheduling formal votes in the coming months that would permit the diocese to withdraw from the Episcopal Church. Last year the Synod of the Diocese of San Joaquin, based in Fresno, California, voted to withdraw from the Episcopal Church and was accepted into the Province of the Southern Cone of America under the archiepiscopal oversight of Bishop Gregory Venables of Argentina.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts

Time: In Wasilla, Pregnancy Was No Secret

That’s about the only thing that I didn’t know about Bristol Palin’s pregnancy. The rest of the details I picked up almost without trying, while talking about other things with townsfolk ”” some who know the governor and her family well, some who don’t. It was, more or less, an open secret. And everyone was saying the same thing: the governor’s 17-year-old daughter is pregnant, the father is her boyfriend, and it’s really nobody’s business beyond that.

I happen to agree.

This tiny town wedged in between the Chugach and Talkeetna mountain ranges has intrigued the whole country since John McCain’s surprise Friday announcement that Wasilla’s favorite daughter, Sarah Palin, would be his running mate. Sure, some of the interest was a prelude to attacks on Palin’s readiness for national office. But Wasilla also offered a welcome chance to get specific about the geography of a politician. It’s one of our most cherished myths, that a leader can come from somewhere and you can guess at their qualities not just by what they say, but where they live.

Well, here’s the deal: small towns have their own value systems, and in this situation those values are more a lot more valid than the dispassionate, pushy inquisitiveness that political journalism encourages.

Read it all.

Please note that additional comments are now by email only–read the comment thread.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, US Presidential Election 2008

In New Orleans, Too Close for Comfort

Oh my.

Posted in * General Interest, Weather

Jerry Kramer: Don't Believe Media, Levees Holding

Monday 6p

Dear All,

Apparently a Baton Rouge TV station was showing an old clip of the levees breaching during Katrina. Some national media outlets picked up on this and called it “live footage.” NOLA.com picked up on this and caused further panic. It seemed to us that some in the media were hoping to have something “major” to report. But the levees in New Orleans are holding. Never thought I’d say this but, “Go Corps!” Gustav is proving to be a “wind event.” Lots of tree limbs and power lines down in NOLA. You can check out what’s happening in our neighbourhood at www.broadmoorimprovement.com.

We still haven’t received an assessment from Lafayette which experienced very high winds. A school in Houma is completely gone, probably a tornado. A private levee in Plaquemines is breaching and threatening a subdivision which should be completely evacuated. We’re talking hundreds people (awful for them, yes) not thousands. More sensationalism.

Here on the North Shore we’re getting some gusts and rain but all is well. Eating chips and salsa. Hearing that power will be restored to much of New Orleans by tomorrow morning. School, etc. has been canceled until Monday to allow for a phased re-entry and clean up.

Thank you for all of your prayers, love, support and encouragement. You’ve sustained us mightily for these past three years. Please keep all of us, but especially the folks in the River Parishes and along the Mississippi Coast, in your prayers. We’re going to need to help those folks.

It’s a blessing to have such awesome friends! We’ve heard from people in the past few days whom we haven’t communicated with since Africa days.

Looking forward to a raucous Service of Thanksgiving with my congregation and our neighbourhood when they all drag back into town.


–The Reverend Jerry and Stacy Kramer, Church of the Annuncation, New Orleans

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * General Interest, Parish Ministry, Weather